Medical tests are an essential step during any health care operation. Testing can help verify the patient’s condition, confirm a diagnosis and ensure that any treatment the patient receives works.
But sometimes, you might feel like a test recommended by your doctor is unnecessary. Perhaps the test has nothing to do with your ailments or feels too expensive for your expected treatment. Is there such a thing as unnecessary medical testing, and can you hold your doctor responsible?
Common medical tests that may be unnecessary
While these tests have their time and place, you should be on your guard when you’re offered one of these diagnostic procedures:
- Cardiac imaging
- EKG heart tests
- Imaging tests for lower back pain
- Prostate cancer screenings for men aged 80 and above
- Vitamin D tests
If your doctor offers any of these tests, don’t hesitate to ask why they are needed. Be cautious if your doctor can’t satisfactorily answer or adequately explain why.
The danger of unnecessary tests
Researchers warn that unnecessary medical tests don’t just add to patients’ expenses but also expose them to more harm. Unnecessary tests could yield false positive results and patients may undergo equally unnecessary procedures. Prescribing too many tests also takes patients away from treating their actual ailments.
Florida law on unnecessary testing
According to Florida’s law, no health care provider is permitted to order, provide, or perform unnecessary diagnostic tests, especially tests that won’t help the provider form a diagnosis and treatment. Health care professionals and institutions that violate this law face disciplinary action or the suspension of their licenses.
When is unnecessary testing considered medical malpractice?
You can hold your doctor liable for medical malpractice if they fail to properly inform you of the need for the test and the procedures involved. Your doctor is negligent if they don’t obtain your valid informed consent for any procedure, not just testing.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is one thing, but winning one can be challenging – especially if you’re suing a health care professional for excessive testing. Consider hiring a lawyer with medical malpractice experience to help walk you through the process, review your claim and represent you in a trial.